Shemeka Thorpe, Ph.D., is a recipient of the University of Kentucky Center for Health Equity Transformation (CHET) 2022 Equity Changemaker Award. The award recognizes faculty and students conducting research that will help eliminate health disparities and inequities among marginalized and oppressed groups, and whose mentorship is contributing to the next generation of health equity scholars.
Thorpe, one of three recipients of this year’s award, is a Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology in the UK College of Education and will join the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion as a faculty member in the fall of 2022.
Thorpe contributes to her goal of changing the narrative of Black women’s sexual health by advancing sex-positive literature and making research relevant for this group while centering the community in her work. Her focus on translational research is evidenced by her commitment to sharing her research findings in accessible formats. Thorpe creates space for Black women to discuss their sexual pain, among other topics, through workshops and social media posts, and in November 2020 launched The Pain and Pleasure Study, the first study specifically focused on Black women’s sexual dysfunction and pleasure.
Also receiving the award this year were Christal Badour, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UK College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology, and Jacqueline Leachman, Ph.D., who earned her doctorate in nutritional sciences from the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology.